Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Separate and distinct

I found this post in the draft pile. It was written last October but never published. Part of me hesitates to post it now because I fear, as I suppose I feared then, that it sounds a little harsh. I want to be clear: today I need harsh, and everywhere it says "we" or "you" what I'm really saying is "me." It's a (much needed) reminder for me, but I'm glad you came along all the same...

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In 2 Corinthians 6:17 Paul quotes an Old Testament passage which says quite plainly:


Come out and be separate.

Come out from the prevailing culture. Be separate. Be different. Be distinctive. Live set apart from the world, and touch no unclean thing.

Peter says it this way: Be holy in all you do. "Holy" meaning set apart for a purpose, consecrated, marked as belonging to, separate.

Throughout the Bible we see it is God's plan for His people to be distinct. We as God's people are to live different as distinctively His, separate and set apart from the world that surrounds us.

Do we? Are we?

Now, I'm not talking about living in communes or some kind of separatist isolation. It's important that we involve ourselves in the sphere of influence God has given us, be it at the soccer field, the grocery store, or our kids' classroom at school.

That being said, it's my observation that we are not only in this world, but we, the blood bought people of God, most of us look just like this world. Oh, sure, we live somewhat differently, say from 9 -12 on a given Sunday morning, but other than that, many of our pursuits, much of our pleasures, and even our priorities offer little distinction.

Our pursuits...What is it I want? What am I seeking? Often our wants can be boiled down to more, more, more. More house. More money. More control. More beauty. More shoes.

Our pleasures...Where do I find joy? What makes me laugh? Few areas blur the lines of distinction like our entertainment choices. Somehow we think if it's entertaining, if it's funny, if it's good drama, so what if the morality is a little questionable. After all, what's a little guilty pleasure?

Our priorities...What do I consider critical, necessary? Is it success? Achievement? Am I able to determine what's really important--to me? I've heard it said, no doubt you have as well, that the best indicators of priorities are our calendars and our checkbooks.

So many of us--me, for instance--look just like the world. We dress like the world. We laugh like the world. We want what the world wants. If truth be told, we just want the world and all its pursuits, pleasures and priorities.

In contrast, stark black and white contrast, our God calls His people to come out and be separate. Live a life that is marked as belonging to God. Pursue holiness--separateness--in every area of your life.

Yeah, it's hard. While we all know someone who seems to actually like being different perhaps for different's sake, it is very difficult for us to stand out, go against the flow, buck the system so to speak. I don't know about you, but for me, peer pressure is just as much a temptation at thirty nine as it was at thirteen. I'll be honest, I've struggled with being and living different. So much of me wants so badly to blend in, to feel just like and the same as. Sometimes I really do want more house and more shoes. There are times my calendar reflects the selfish and the temporal. And yeah, maybe I've occasionally watched a less-than-wholesome offering on tv in the name of entertainment.

But I must remember: I am not my own. I am bought with a price. My God has redeemed me with the precious blood of His Son. He has called me out, set me apart, marked me as belonging to Him, and commands me: come out and be separate. In every area of my life. To be holy in all I do. All I do. To live a life worthy of the calling I have received. To be different. Be distinctive. Reflect Him in all I say and do.

I am His. May I live like it.

8 comments:

  1. [Jesus speaking]

    If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
    ~John 15:19

    This hit me right between the eyes recently...as did your post. You were right on, my dear friend. Right on.

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  2. Wow Lisa, this is great, great stuff. It's something I needed to hear and, I suspect, something the church as a whole needs to hear. We spend so much time worrying about how we don't "fit in" -- we have the wrong house, the wrong car, the wrong clothes... Maybe it's time to start thinking of how and why we shouldn't be "fitting in."

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  3. Excellent words, my friend. Not particularly comfortable concepts to think about. But ones that I have been musing over as well.

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  4. Wonderful post! I so long to pursue Him passionately, and Satan uses so many things (seemingly insignificant) to distract me from my pursuit. We are called to holiness--pretty clear calling, pretty separate and distinct. Thank you for the challenge to fit His mold, not the world's!

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  5. Excellent...and convicting! This is always a struggle.

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  6. Excellent...and convicting! This is always a struggle.

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  7. [Jesus speaking]

    If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
    ~John 15:19

    This hit me right between the eyes recently...as did your post. You were right on, my dear friend. Right on.

    ReplyDelete